As long as I have been doing countermissionary work, it is now fairly rare for me to see something that surprises me. False claims, misuse of the Bible, inventing history...I have seen these occur so many times that I am almost numb to them. But today I read something that cut through all the numbness.
Anatoliy Odnoralov is the epitome of every bad cliche about missionaries to the Jewish people. He is a Christian from the former Soviet Union, educated at the Ukraine Bible Seminary and Oklahoma Bible Institute, who works as a missionary for the Southern Baptist Convention targeting Jewish people for conversion. Despite lacking any connection to Judaism, he identified himself as a "Messianic Jew" to the immigrant Russian Jewish community. He operates the International Center of Hope in Denver, which offers free secular classes such as English as a second language as a way of bringing non-Christians immigrants into his influence. He and his wife admit to making friends of Jews specifically as a method of converting them to Christianity. All of this is sadly typical of the dishonesty of Christian missionaries to the Russian Jewish immigrant community.
But, Odnoralov does something which is less common (though certainly not unheard of) among missionaries. He specifically targets children for conversion and uses them as a way of converting their families. Odnoralov is quoted by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention as saying, "We want to establish relationships with them. We also have a big youth group, and we have summer camps to attract kids who do not know Jesus. We see kids accept the Messiah, and they pass on the Good News to their friends and family members."
That quote stopped me dead in my tracks. They use a summer camp to specifically attract children for conversion. Not to help the children, not to give them enjoyment, but to get the children to accept Jesus. And, he hopes that these converted children will then convince their families and friends to believe in Jesus.
Dishonesty, deception and misrepresentation are bad enough when interacting with adults. Targeting children for conversion is completely immoral. And this guy is given money by the Southern Baptist Convention to engage in this unethical behavior. Truly, Odnoralov and the Southern Baptist Convention do not want to interact with the Russian Jewish immigrants in an honest and manner manner.